God’s Rule Means We Rule Ourselves First

God's rule
Jerry Newcombe, D.Min. Executive Director, Providence Forum

Throughout the centuries, the bells of Christendom have pealed a tune that actually reminds the knowledgeable hearer of our need for God’s help to overcome temptation that very hour.

This tune I refer to is called “the Westminster chimes,” as in Westminster Abbey. This tune is heard in churches and college campuses across America — and if you own a grandfather clock, or any kind of chiming clock, you too are very familiar with this 16-note melody that plays at the beginning of every hour.

The words to the hourly tune go like this: “Lord, in this hour, be thou our guide, that by thy power / no foot shall slide.” A foot sliding was an old-fashioned way of referring to falling into sin.



Dr. D. James Kennedy once told a story from about 100 years ago of a busy fruit-seller on the side of a street in one of our large cities. There was a boy that was eying a big juicy apple. And the street vendor asked him, “Young man, are you trying to steal that apple?”

And the boy, “Oh no, sir. I’m trying not to.” 

We all need God’s help in dealing with temptation. Paul warned us in 1 Corinthians 10, “Let him who thinks he’s strong, watch out, lest he fall.” He went on to say, “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it” (10:13, NIV).


Freedom requires self-control

God's ruleThe founders of America gave us limited government, which requires people to act in self-controlled manners, not giving in constantly to temptation.

After the founding fathers wrote the Constitution in Philadelphia, a woman asked Ben Franklin what kind of government they had given to us. He famously replied, “A republic, madam, if you can keep it.” One of the ways we keep it is through greater self-control.

Dr. Os Guinness, guest in our Providence Forum series of films on America’s Judeo-Christian heritage, noted, “The key question for the founders was: How do you sustain faith? Faith of any sort requires freedom. Now, rather like the recycling triangle, it goes round and round ad infinitum. Freedom requires virtue, virtue requires faith, faith requires freedom, which requires virtue, and so on.”

The late Dr. Walter Williams told our viewers, “Our Constitution and our government was made for a moral people, people who love liberty. And the reason why is that initially we had very, very few laws, because people’s behavior was governed by customs and tradition and religious values. Today, we’re moving away from that…we’re seeing more and more laws being written to control human behavior, as opposed to personal values.”

Self-rule under God is the essence of the American experiment. To succeed it requires that citizens must, of course, with God’s help, rule ourselves first.

Next time you hear the Westminster chimes, remember that it’s a prayer for God’s help for this very hour. As the hymn puts it, “I need Thee every hour….” 


Dr. Jerry Newcombe is the executive director of Providence Forum, a division of D. James Kennedy Ministries, where Jerry also serves as senior producer and an on-air contributor. 

For more on the Lord God, visit https://www.goodnewsfl.org/topic/god/


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